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throw it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts v. 38.)
2. We have great reason to be humbled before God, that we have no more zeal in his cause;
That, like Martha, we are so “ careful and troubled about many things, as to have no time to attend to what Jesus is saying and doing ;-that the decay of piety in some places should no more grieve us; that the revival of it in others should no more delight us ;-and especially, that we, who call ourselves disciples, and are bound, by obligations the most solemn that can be, to stand by him at all events :-I say, that our watchfulness and courage should fail, when there is the greatest call for both; that, like his disciples of old, we should be sleeping, when our Master is in an agony; and in his greatest extremity should forsake him and flee:- These things ill become our cha. racters and circumstances, and loudly call for tears and reformation. I add, therefore,
3. Let us all seriously consider what we can do for the support and advancement of this glorious
When the temple was built, all sorts of persons, throughout the whole congregation of Israel, contributed towards it: some in one shape, some in another: each one according to his capacity. Some brought gold and silver ; others, brass and wood; all brought something; and the widow's mite was not overlooked. . So, again, when the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt, the prophet Nehemiah informs us of one, and another, that he repaired over-against his own house ; and of one, that he repaired against his chamber. So should we at this time, when God
scems to give us some pleasing hopes that he is about to heal our breaches, and build up the waste places of his Zion : every one should promote it in the character and situation in which Providence has placed him: magistrates and ministers, parents and masters, may repair over-against their houses; and those who have not the government of families, should repair over-against their chambers, and “ consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works.”---So diligent were they, that they Wrought from break of day till the stars appeared, and did not then put off their clothes ; and so continually upon their guard, that with one hand they wrought in the work, and with the other held a weapon.
Like them, we see ourselves beset on all sides with innumerable evils, with temptations, and with enemics who will strive to the utmost of their power to seduce or crush us. But let us remember-0 let us never forget! that the cause we are engaged in is the cause of God. Let us keep close to the great Captain of our salvation, and we need not be afraid of ten thousand of our foes ; for
there is more with us than with them :'' with them is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us.--" Wherefore, gird up the loins of your minds :” “ watch ye, stand fast in the faitli, quit ye like mon, be strong;” and, “by a patient continuance in well-doing, seek tor glory, honour and immortality;” and you shall assuredly find them not in this world: for it is a deu of thieves, a vaie diof tears, a mere wilderness of woe; but in the world to come ;-that region of tranquillity ; that kingdom of love, joy, and peace; where “the nations shall learn war no more ;" where “ swords
shall be beaten into plough-shares, and spears into pruning hooks ;” where the prince of this world hath nothing more to do; where " the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joys upon their heads :" where we shall be all on one side, and our only contention be, who shall sing loudest the praises of the Lamb, through whose blood we overcame; and the triumphs of that wonder-working grace which brought us thither, and, from very beggars, hath raised us to be “ kings, and priests, and conquerors.”
DELIVERANCE TO THE CAPTIVES.
LUKE iv. 18.
To preach deliverance to the captives.
METHINKS I see your countenances, brighten at the very mention of these words. “Deliverance ! Let the preacher of it be who he will, his message will make him welcome.' We cannot hear these words from the mouth of a common messenger, but our hearts leap for joy; but when we consider that this was the text which Jesus himself chose to preach from, we read it over and over with increasing admiration and pleasure.
The whole passage is worth notice, from the 16th to the 22d verse: " And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath-day, and stood up for to read,” &c.
What a glorious Sabbath was that! Happy the synagogue into which Jesus entered! happy the people who sat under the ministry of Jesus, who spake so as never man spake !" Could we have been present to have heard how he enlarged on this delightful subject ;- could we have seen how they hung upon his lips, and how they wondered and rejoiced at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth :-could we have seen how the
poor forgot their poverty, and thought themselves rich in having the gospel preached to them; how the broken-hearted smiled, when the compassionate Jesus looked that way; how the fetters fell off, when the great Captain of salvation proclaimed “ Deliverance to the captives ;" how joy appeared in every countenance, when Jesus opened the book ; and “Satan fell like lightning from heaven," before his all commanding voice:- I say, had we been present then, we should have seen that the “ word of God was quick, and powerful,” when the Spirit of the Lord was upon the preacher of it.
-O thou, who didst anoint Jesus to preach the Gospel to the poor, favour with thy divine influences one of the most unworthy of his messengers : enable him rightly to divide this word of truth, and give to every man his portion in due season: that the blind may see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the sorrowful rejoice; and that we may be all turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.
I. I shall endeavour to illustrate the captivity we are under : and
II. State the deliverance which Christ has wrought out for us.
I. To illustrate the captivity we are under.
I say illustrate, for sure it cannot be necessary for me to stay to prove that we are all by nature bondsmen and slaves. Some who pride themselves in their imaginary freedom, and think liberty to consist in breaking through all the restraints of reason and religion, may perhaps resent the imputation, • What !' say they ; "are we slaves also ?